Reader sees a 'bright light' in A Pace of Grace
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 18, 2004
One of the truly satisfying benefits from writing this column is observing
the connections that develop among you, my coffee companions. One connection
in particular is so beautiful I'd like to share it with you in detail.
Last week we met around Linda Kavelin Popov's new book, A Pace of
Grace: The Virtues of a Sustainable Life. Drawing from her own experience
with the fatigue, overwhelm and guilt associated with post-polio syndrome,
the popular writer and speaker has provided practical guidance for all
who are "drowning in the chaos of too many demands."
No sooner was the column on the Internet you can always read
past installments at www.coffeewithwarren.com than this letter
arrived from Edmonton writer Barbara Stevens:
I CRIED WHEN I read your column today. I am a post-polio survivor
struggling to cope with the new challenges facing me. For years, I have
had diminished physical capabilities and have been overwhelmed by the
demands of learning how to cope with my illness.
Today, you provided the answer to my prayers by recommending the book
by Linda Popov. I have been in her place of darkness. I have reserved
a copy at the bookstore and my husband will pick it up on his way home.
How I look forward to reading her book and embarking on a new path in
my journey. I need a "gentle shift of spirit," as well as
learning how to look after my own needs with a gentle lift of spirit.
Thank you, Warren, for once again providing the means by which a reader
can be encouraged and uplifted. It is very comforting to know that we
are not alone and that we are blessed to have you bringing us all together.
Barbara Stevens, Edmonton
IN A SEPARATE NOTE, Barbara wrote of the many wonderful holidays she
and her husband of 46 years, Leonard "the one constant in
my life" have spent near Tofino on Vancouver Island. "We
have walked the sands for miles together," she said. But her
physical condition deteriorated such that she went from cane, to walker,
and finally to wheelchair. When she was there this May, she wrote some
poetry about the changes in her lifestyle:
hand in hand
we walked on the shifting sands
he walks the sands alone
hand in hand
we sit and watch the ocean waves
She concluded a second poem with these stirring words:
My life was written in the sand
and changed by the tides.
A few days after receiving her notes, I wrote Barbara and asked whether
she'd been into Linda's book yet. She replied:
JUST AS I FELT that you had written your column just for me, I feel
that Linda wrote A Pace of Grace also for me. When I finish a
chapter or several pages, Leonard joins me and I read out to him the
sentences I have underlined. He told me today that if I follow the lessons
that Linda teaches, then I will definitely experience a better life.
The book has already changed my outlook on my future and changed how
I feel about me. It has given me hope when hope was hiding behind fear
and physical, mental and emotional struggles. People who have had a
near-death experience talk about a bright light that they are tempted
to move toward. Well, Linda has provided my "bright light"
and I am eagerly moving toward it because I know how much it will change
LAST WINTER, I featured a letter from Barbara about her experience of
jazz in New Orleans. On that occasion she said of the various musicians
who just happened to show up and play: "Each of them knew the music,
knew the rhythms, and because they were playing from their hearts, the
notes blended together."
Well, I think Linda and Barbara have "blended together" beautifully
over a pace of grace. They share the same "music," the same
And for this heart-connection I am profoundly grateful.
© 2004 Warren Harbeck
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